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These two sketches represent views from the passage of the Apennines between Tolentino and Foligno. The precise locations are not currently identified but the inscribed place name suggests somewhere within the vicinity of Colfiorito, a town near Monte Pennino and the border between Le Marche and Umbria. Turner was familiar with Eustace’s account of the terrain in A Classical Tour Through Italy:
above Serravalle, you reach the highest point of the mountains that intersect the Via Flaminia, and the road from Ancona to Rome. On the sides of the mountains you see villages and cottages, the greatest part of which look bleak and miserable, and in the midst of the plain, graze numerous flocks of sheep and cattle. There is, however, an appearance of loneliness about the place, that excites in the traveller’s mind, ideas of danger ... On quitting the plain you wind along the mountain with a lake on your right, and passing an eminence, begin to descend the declivity of Colfiorito represented more dangerous than it really is, because, though the precipice be steep and abrupt, the road is good and winding along the side of the hill descends on an easy slope. Through the deep dell that borders the road, a streamlet murmurs along, and gradually increasing becomes a river, which, in the plain below, falls into the Clitumnus. The little post of Casenuove forms the first stage of the descent, which continues with little or no intermission to the neighbourhood of Foligno.1
The artist had made notes from this passage in the Italian Guide Book sketchbook (see Tate D13939; Turner Bequest CLXXII 4a).
John Chetwode Eustace, A Classical Tour Through Italy, London 1815, vol.I, pp.311–15.